navigation bar
Lesson 1 || Lesson 2 || Lesson 3 || Resources || Eskimo Home
The Raven Myth

Then Raven made two animals of clay which he endowed with life as before, but as they were dry only in spots when they were given life, they remained brown and white, and so originated the tame reindeer with mottled coat. In the same way a pair of caribou were made and permitted to get dry and white only on their bellies, then they were given life; in consequence, to this day the belly of the caribou is the only white part about it. Raven told Man that these animals would be very common, and people would kill many of them.

"You will be very lonely by yourself," said Raven "I will make you a companion." He then went to a spot some distance from where he had made the animals, and looking now and then at Man, made an image very much like him. Then he fastened a lot of fine water grass on the back of the head for hair, and after the image had dried in his hands, he waived his wings over it as before and a beautiful young woman arose and stood beside Man. "There," cried Raven "is a companion for you," and he led them back to a small hill nearby.

In those days there were no mountains far or near, and the sun never ceased shining brightly; no rain ever fell and no winds blew. When they came to the hill Raven showed the pair how to make a bed in the dry moss, and they slept there very warmly; Raven drew down his mask and slept nearby in the form of a bird. Waking before the others, Raven went back to the creek and made a pair each of sticklebacks, graylings, and blackfish. When these were swimming about in the water, he called Man to see them. When the latter looked at them and saw the sticklebacks swim up the stream with a wriggling motion he was so surprised that he raised his hand suddenly and the fish darted away. Raven then showed him the graylings and told him that they would be found in clear mountain streams, while the sticklebacks would live along the seacoast and that both would be good for food.

In this way Raven continued for several days making birds, fishes, and animals, showing them to Man, and explaining their uses. After this he flew away to the sky and was gone four days, after which he returned, bringing back a salmon for the use of Man.

Looking about Raven saw that the ponds and lakes were silent and lonely, so he created many water insects upon their surfaces, and from the same clay he made the beaver and the muskrat to frequent their borders. Man was shown the muskrat and told to take its skin for clothing. He was also told that the beavers would live along the streams and build strong houses and that he must follow their example, and likewise that the beavers would be very cunning and only good hunters would be able to take them.


More Raven Myth
More Raven Myth